Hollyoaks star Alex Fletcher has revealed that when she first found out about her character Diane Hutchinson's OCD storyline, she was initially apprehensive.
Pregnant Diane has been struggling with OCD over the past few months, which has involved her worrying about her family's safety and the potential presence of germs in her home.
Actress Alex told Inside Soap that she had some doubts about the plot at first due to the changes in our behaviour caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, but that she came to believe that it was an important issue to raise awareness of.
"If I'm honest, at the start, there was a little bit of me that thought, 'Do people need to be watching this right now?'" she said. "We've all been through a pandemic, and because of that, everything's heightened. People's behaviours have changed, with the washing of the hands constantly, and being more aware of germs.
"But Hollyoaks never shies away from things that are current, so I was really flattered to be given this story."
The actress, who has played Diane since 2010, added that she thinks that her character has lived with OCD for a long time, but that recent world events and her traumatic experience with Edward Hutchinson have triggered her obsessive thoughts again.
"I think the backstory with Diane is that she maybe had this as a child or a teenager. It was managed and she's not had to think about it, but sadly it doesn't just go away," she said. "And now she's had this trauma that's triggered everything again, and so she's having these thoughts.
"Diane's hiding behind the fact that we're in a pandemic and she's pregnant, so no one will challenge her – but she's really frightened. She's reassuring herself and everyone else that once the baby comes, it's going to be fine. And she's desperate to believe that."
Sadly, things aren't getting any easier for Diane as she struggles with her worries, which led her to cover all of the furniture in her home with protective plastic sheets in the soap's most recent E4 episode.
Diane's sister-in-law Verity Hutchinson (Eva O'Hara) was shocked to find Diane so distressed and urged Diane to speak to her husband Tony Hutchinson (Nick Pickard) about her feelings. And Alex revealed that she thinks support from her family and friends will make a big difference to Diane's health.
"I hope this storyline can shake off any stigma, and help anyone watching who is struggling with OCD," she said. "The main thing I'd say is, just don't beat yourself up. There is help out there, from charities such as OCD-UK, and from friends and family.
"Hopefully this storyline will show that it is possible to recover with the right support, and ultimately have a happy ending."
Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first-look episodes airing at 7pm on E4.
OCD Action is the UK's largest OCD charity, offering support and information to anybody affected by the disorder. Its helpline is available on 0300 636 5478, while support is also available over email via email@example.com.
Digital Spy now has a newsletter – sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox.
You Might Also Like